All posts tagged: Contiki travel

World Heritage Site Tuesday: Chateau De Versailles

What do you value, work hard for? If you were to become extremely wealthy and powerful, what would you do with the riches and power you’ve suddenly come across? I was thinking about the word “extravagance” as our Contiki tour group was going through Chateau de Versailles, a nearby suburb of Paris.   Historically, the palace was a symbol of absolute political power for the royal family starting in the reign of Louis XIV. It has now become a symbol of status and wealth. It was interesting to see how royals lived and learn how the palace is still being used in modern times for dignitaries. It was also interesting reflecting and asking oneself, would you want something like this as a lifestyle? Or, would you be happier with the simple joys of life — perhaps with sporadic stays at royal palace-like places every now and then — surrounded with fulfillment, or at least with the search for it? But then again maybe daydreaming of a royal lifestyle while at Versailles is inevitable, and the …

We’ll Always Have Paris (And That Escargot)

If you were to choose the first time to have a certain dish, I’d say it would be a dream to do so in the place of its origins. I have spoken of my Contiki trip on this blog before, and one of the things I had the privilege of experiencing during the Paris leg was the great food. On our last night, our tour manager took us to Monmarte to show us Sacre Coeur and to a nice Parisian dinner at La Bonne Franquette. For my appetizer, instead of French onion soup I chose escargot — my first time — and it was quite an experience. The dish was served with shells on, with a shell holder and a small fork for you to use in taking the snails out (as opposed to those I had everywhere else since, where the snails are already taken out of the shells for you). The sauce was a perfect blend of garlic and herbs, and definitely great for dipping the bread, for which we were reprimanded (playfully) …

World Heritage Site Tuesday: Notre Dame de Paris

“He therefore turned to mankind with only regret. His cathedral was enough for him…The saints were his friends, and blessed him; the monsters were his friends, and guarded him.” – Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame I remember seeing The Hunchback of Notre Dame with my best friend from high school. I don’t recall a lot about the movie. At the time, I knew we were curious about the adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel. It was not until my Contiki trip years after, looking up at Notre Dame itself, that I remembered the film and the book again, which was written to call attention to the importance of the cathedral as it has, throughout history, undergone a lot of destruction.   Notre Dame’s external facade, although not as elaborate as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, is definitely something to see. Depending on which side you are looking at, you would see something different. Its famous gargoyles and smaller statues, which I learned were added to serve as water sprouts and for support, were very detailed. …